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Autopsy

  • Dean Hawley
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter outlines the policies and procedures for conduction of hospital autopsies. The described policies and procedures are intended to be compliant with the College of American Pathologists Laboratory Accreditation Program and the ACGME Residency Review Committee requirements for training programs. The chapter contains an explanation of the process for determining involvement with medical–legal authorities. There is a list of standard criteria for establishing validity of the informed consent, followed by procedures for review of the medical history, and determination of need for ancillary clinical laboratory testing. The autopsy procedure is covered from beginning to end, with dissection techniques for removing the organs, examining the organs, and submitting histologic blocks. The discussion includes suggestions for descriptive terminology of gross autopsy findings, with emphasis on describing findings that are in the body before removing the organs. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the final autopsy report, death certificate, and RRC Case Log.

Keywords

Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Alcoholism Aortic dissection Autopsy conference Autopsy restrictions Basilar skull fracture Block excision Cause of death Collage of American Pathologists Complete autopsy Death certificate Decomposition Effusions Endocardium Epicardium Exudates Heart valves Hemorrhages Informed consent Laboratory Accreditation Program Manner of death Next-of-kin Organ donation Organ retention Partial autopsy Patient-controlled anesthesia Prion Putrefaction Residency Review Committee Rokitansky method RRC Case Log System Subarachnoid hemorrhage Thromboembolism Tissue donation Toxicology Virchow method 

Suggested Reading

General References

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  3. Diagrams of body topography, organ systems, and individual organs are publicly available from the Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner (OAFME), through the web site for the Armed Forces Medical Examiner Service (AFMES) at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP), accessed at: http://www.afip.org/consultation/AFMES/forms/index.html
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  10. National Association of Medical Examiners: Policy and Guidelines on Human Organ and Tissue Procurement, 2002 Aug., accessed at Position Papers, http://www.thename.org
  11. The Laboratory Accreditation requirements for autopsy services are from the College of American Pathologists, Commission on Laboratory Accreditation, Laboratory Accreditation Program, Anatomic Pathology Checklist, accessed at http://www.cap.org
  12. The Residency Review Committee requirements for autopsy service are from the Residency Review Committee (RRC) of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education accessed at http://www.acgme.org/acWebsite/downloads/RRC_progReq/300pathology_07012007.pdf

Journal Articles

  1. College of American Pathologists Conference XXIX: Restructuring Autopsy Practice for Health Care Reform. A compendium of articles from the May 1995 Conference, Arch Pathol Lab Med 1996; 120:693–785.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dean Hawley
    • 1
  1. 1.Indiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA

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